Press release from Porsche:
In order to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Porsche 917, Zuffenhausen has restored one of their most famous vintage race cars for one final race. The “Truffle-Hunter from Zuffenhausen” a.k.a. the Porsche 917/20 will take one last shot at glory by entering the 24 Hours of Lemons before being permanently enshrined in the new Porsche Museum.
Photo by Michael Schrock
Originally built to take part in the 1971 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 917/20 had a unique aerodynamic body that combined the handling of the short-tail 917Ks with the high speed stability of the long-tail 917Ls. The wide proportions of the car lead to the german press nicknaming it the “Pig” and the Porsche team played along by painting the car pink and adding graphics representing a series of butchers cuts for pork. Despite the unflattering names, the car tested well and could hit a higher top speed on the Mulsanne straight than the 917K’s could, but could also keep up with the short-tail car through the corners (which the long-tail car couldn’t).
It was driven in the race by Reinhold Joest and Willi Kauhsen and ran as high as third before crashing out due to brake failure. The next year the rules at Le Mans were changed which meant that the 917s could no longer compete and the “Pink Pig” was retired after just one competitive race. Porsche has now restored the 917/20 to complete racing specification and has partnered with the Formula BMW team with the goal of a dominating Lemons victory as a fitting sendoff to 917 range.
The Formula BMW team has multiple years of experience in Lemons racing series and is fresh off a 10th place finish at the 2008 race at Thunderhill. Their combination of raw speed and tactical nous has led Porsche to chose them as their official factory team to race the 917/20 in the 24 Hours of Lemons race at Reno-Fernley raceway. The Formula BMW team will also be continuing with its innovative media campaign which has produced fan favourites such as the Lemons Experience documentary, 3-Camera Race action, Driving in the Dark and many others. As with previous races the team will be documenting the entire experience on their website which will allow fans to sample the Lemons racing experience from the comfort of their own living room.
Join us on 23-24 May 2009 at Reno-Fernley Raceway to see the Pink Pig race once again.